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Star Wars: Battlefront (2004) gets updated with GOG Galaxy online play and improved widescreen support, breaking draw distance in the process

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-- Update (June 15,2020) --

A patch numbered 1.3.6.4 was released and with it an issue of terrain rendering was again fixed. It also came with additional fixes related to potential crashes that occurred while loading maps (most often reported when loading maps Naboo and Genosis). And so, with issues fixed, all seems this is now objectively the best available version of the game.

-- Original story--

Today (May 1, 2020) both GOG and Steam versions of original Star Wars: Battlefront (not the EA's one) got updated to a version numbered simply as 1.3.5 (4). While the switch from long dead Gamespy to GOG Galaxy is very much appreciated, it's not the only change made.

New patch also adds French, Italian, German, Spanish languages to choose from and improves audio using OpenAL. Finally the patch also reworks widescreen support, as the previous "hack" introduced on July 10, 2019 was quite questionable at best (something I wrote about on my GitHub blog). While not mentioned in patch notes, it seems steps were taken to negate issues with vehicle physics glitching out when running the game above 60fps - but a more in-depth testing is required.

So far, so good, right?

Well - not really. As it turns out, while some of the new scaling behaviours are indeed good (especially when it comes to menus) , they seemed to have unintentionally broken the draw distance. Here are some examples:

Tatooine:

large.tatoine_1_2.jpg.5acd59b31262f07855e9b3aeff214a9a.jpglarge.tatoine_1_3_5.jpg.9df1f20ac45c06cdd9eee0a74eed0d5a.jpg
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Hoth:

large.hoth_1_1_2.jpg.37f81c6888f68c7c9e412019deb41e77.jpglarge.hoth_1_1_3_5.jpg.4f8c1a383f9884533ca3a14d4ba64c96.jpg
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large.hoth_2_1_2.jpg.684bcb2b3b24334be0aa063b9f966a1c.jpglarge.hoth_2_1_3_5.jpg.4a26957de6c4d19d9fd86c66601653a3.jpg
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From a limited testing I've done, some maps don't seem to exhibit issues with draw distance, but it's curious nevertheless this hasn't been caught before release. If I were to guess, it might as well turn out that one of the changes made now multiplies (by values lower than 1) or divides LOD of terrain, here is what happens if you set minimum LOD in game settings:

large.geonosis_1_2.jpg.68f1e1691748cbb06bfaacc30e4f99ca.jpglarge.geonosis_1_3_5.jpg.3bb62058a96b77317596a524dca7d740.jpg
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Normally this terrain is visible (although the draw distance is still noticeable shorter than on identical settings on version 1.2 of the game).

Either way, let's just hope this time, the patch fixing it will take less than 9+ months to be released.

Note: For screenshots my old widescreen fix was used to provide the same 16:9 aspect ratio as with new 1.3.5 patch.

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I remember when I was working on my Chrome patch, increasing FOV for widescreen also messed up the LOD. Thankfully Jackfuste found some LOD variable using assembler, or whatever he uses, that was directly tied to the FOV and fixed the issue.

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2 minutes ago, Antrad said:

I remember when I was working on my Chrome patch, increasing FOV for widescreen also messed up the LOD. Thankfully Jackfuste found some LOD variable using assembler, or whatever he uses, that was directly tied to the FOV and fixed the issue.

Yeah, I had the same with Red Faction 2, except - new patch is not increasing FOV, the game scaling is just like my old widescreen hack Vert-, except my old hack didn't cause any issues with terrain rendering, so it must be something new they added - might be some functions they patched they assumed were for UI scaling, but values were used more broadly (possibly something like reading a variable embedded in a structure and they just overrode the way such variables are being loaded - would potentially explain why there are some reports of sensitivity being lower in vehicles as well).

But then, that'd still imply they don't have a source code and whilst the functions and calls are utter mess in new executable, many changes seem to actually point that they do and just didn't do a clean release build. It would also be surprising to see them restore online functionality with just partial disassembly.

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Wow this draw distance issue is quite a problem, does it have a big impact on gameplay?

Current numbers for players aren't huge (318 person peak in the last 24 hours) so it's interesting to see they are supporting an old multiplayer game like this. Especially when it sort of competes with Battlefront II (2017)

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